The title might be a bit off, as in many ways it's more akin to just getting out of the starting blocks, but the long marathon to open a restaurant in Nepal seems to be nearing completion. Yes it took far longer than I expected, but that said, I'm really happy with the results, and I'd rather have it take longer and come out as we envisioned (better actually) than have things rushed and have compromised considerably. Now we aren't exactly done yet, but we bring full time staff on for training starting Monday, that elevator which has been being put together since November is in test runs, our interiors will essentially be completed this weekend, kitchen equipment is all up and running, final arrangements are being made with sponsors, and everything from China is unpacked. Oh and we have kick ass menu that was printed at full size the other day for the first time.
I forgot how big the type of menu we are doing is compared to what you normally get in Nepal. We are doing ours on A2 paper folded in half, essentially the same as any menu you would get at say something like Fridays, Applebees, and the like. Here though you never see menu's that size, normally it's just sheets of A4 (8.5 x 11). Not only is the menu physically large, but it's contents are almost equally large, and I'll be spending some time over the next week to start teaching staff what it is that they are selling. Most people here are barely familiar with mozzarella, so it will take some training to create a staff that can explain the differences between Gorgonzola and Gruyere. It also means teaching them about our 25 some odd sauces and condiments, which wines go with what foods, and about our rather extensive bar menu.
So with a post like this, you might be wondering why there are no pictures. I thought about it, but figured I'd wait until we were actually done. We're almost there, but it's still coming together. License plates are being attached to dividers, wall partitions and pots are being put into place, wall hangings are being put into place and lights still need bulbs. Tables are still covered in foam packing to protect their surface, as are our bar stools. But it's finally all there, you can sit and relax...and once the fridges get delivered this weekend and stocked with food you could even get a drink and a meal.
So when are we opening? No idea. We're still shooting for Nepali New Year as a date to put our full menu live, but it's a very soft target, and I wouldn't be surprised to see it move. I am extremely excited at the prospect though of having even small events in the coming weeks on a set menu if for no other reason than to show off what we have put together, it really has come out great. Everything from the interiors that Mike put together for us, to the skylight that took months to get in, to the few thousand square feet of patio space, to the plates and furniture that we picked up in China. I'd be proud to have this place in the US, and here in Nepal it is very different from anything else available to people and I'm really excited to see the reactions we get.
All this time working on this I have been looking forward to one single moment with great expectation. That single moment when the space is done, but we are not yet open and I'm not working 16+ hour days when I can sit at the bar, sip a shot of Patron, eat a burger and just stare out at Shivapuri as the sun sets. At that moment I will be a very content man.